Psychology services for adults with complex needs

The psychology team at The Richardson Partnership for Care plays a crucial role in the care and support of our service users, who have complex needs and acquired brain injuries or learning disabilities. Dr Pedro Areias Grilo, Consultant Clinical Neuropsychologist, heads up the team and is supported by three Assistant Psychologists: Julita Frackowska, Olivia Ferrie and Joseph Szablowski. The Assistant Psychologists are assigned to specific service users according to their needs and the homes in which they live.

Person-centred care
The ethos of the psychology team is the one that runs through the organisation as a whole: the service user is at the centre of everything we do. We are committed to providing individualised care to effectively support the nuanced needs of each service user. We take a person-centred approach and offer interventions to service users based on cognitive behavioural models, dialectical behaviour skills and operant conditioning. All of the interventions offered are evidence-based and follow NICE guidelines.

Psychological reviews
All service users receive an initial psychological review, which includes neuropsychological assessments, a review of clinical presentation, assessment of stability of mood and suggestions for future interventions. This review is then repeated on a regular basis to assess the effectiveness of the therapies and interventions delivered. In addition, we have an ‘open door’ policy at The Richardson Partnership for Care, so all members of the psychology team, and the Assistant Psychologists in particular, can develop close working relationships with the service users. This means that their well-being can be monitored closely on an informal basis and we have found that this helps to maintain their mental health, so any problems can be addressed early, preventing the need for crisis care.

Positive Behaviour Support
Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) is a key part of the psychological support that we provide and an emphasis on positivity is one of our main philosophies. PBS Plans are person-centred and designed with input from the service user to promote positive behaviour. They are supported to set their own goals and to achieve them.

In addition, Pedro and the team are working on an innovative Positive Behaviour Tool to more effectively monitor and encourage positive behaviour. This runs alongside the traditional techniques of reducing negative behaviour.

Multi-Disciplinary Team
The psychology team works closely with the other members of the multi-disciplinary team. (This comprises a consultant neuropsychiatrist, homes managers, service manager, physiotherapist, speech & language therapist and occupational therapist.) Pedro and Consultant Neuropsychiatrist, Dr Seth Mensah, work closely together to balance the use of drug therapies and psychosocial therapies. Where possible, we aim to focus on psychosocial approaches and gradually reduce the reliance on drug therapy to achieve better outcomes for service users over the longer term.

A diagram explaining the psychology services at The Richardson Partnership for Care
A summary of the psychology services offered at The Richardson Partnership for Care

Olivia and Jo join the psychology team

Assistant Psychologists Olivia Shepherd and Jovita Valuckaite have joined Julita Frackowska in the psychology team, which is headed up by Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Pedro Areias Grilo.

The Assistant Psychologists are assigned to specific service users depending on their needs and the homes in which they live. Julita supports service users in 2 & 8 Kingsthorpe Grove who have learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and mental health needs. Olivia works with service users at 144 Boughton Green Road and The Mews, providing psychological and practical support for people with acquired brain injuries and mental health needs, and Jo works with service users at 23 Duston Road and The Mews, supporting people with acquired brain injuries, dual diagnosis, mental health needs and behaviour that challenges.

The Assistant Psychologists perform an important role, completing psychometric assessments for service users to monitor cognition, mood, mental state and behaviour. They provide psychological reports for each individual, which include a functional analysis of their risk behaviours which is used to inform their individualised treatment plan. They also offer advice, psychological support (including cognitive behavioural therapy, cognitive stimulation therapy, substance misuse work and relaxation) as well as providing practical support such as budgeting and functional living skills.

Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Pedro Areias Grilo heads the psychology team. He is an inspiration to his colleagues due to his work ethic and methodical approach but most of all, he is immensely passionate about making a difference to service users. He works closely with other members of our multi-disciplinary clinical team, especially Consultant Neuropsychiatrist Dr Seth Mensah, to develop individualised treatment plans for service users. He also works directly with the service users to provide therapy, supporting them and monitoring their progress. In addition, Pedro oversees the work of the Assistant Psychologists, both supporting them in their role to deliver therapy and complete standard assessments but also challenging them academically to find better ways of working.

Olivia Shepherd and Jovita Valuckaite

From left to right: Assistant Psychologists Olivia Shepherd and Jovita Valuckaite